Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Just so we’re clear

Posted: August 25th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 29 Comments »

This post, it’s not going to be about specific cooking. Because frankly, I’m at my parents’ house and the most cooking I usually do here is scrambling an egg or toasting an english muffin. And that’s great! But it does mean that I sometimes leave my blog unattended for a few days.
However, I’m currently staring down a computer screen that’s about a foot and a half wide, because my parents went out and bought a computer that’s actually part of the 21st century (!!! It’s a Mac!!) and so I can use it to update!
Since I’ll be at a Red Sox game tonight, I won’t be able to post an Alex Runs, Joh Cooks — plus I’ll be SEEING Alex tonight, and her birthday is tomorrow, so hopefully we can all just let this one slide until a little later in the week. However, I will not fail you all. I will post something delicious (and possibly gazpacho-themed) later in the week, especially after I get a couple specifics from Alex as to her dietary rules.

IN the meantime, some food musings that I’ve had recently.
I’ve been thinking about breakfast a lot, and how it’s my favorite meal to improvise with. As much as I like a good french toast or peanutbutter pancake,  I love the more savory, thrown-together omelettes or hashes that really get me going. Anything I can combine with a fried or poached egg and some cheese is good by me. So, on Sunday morning, I woke up with designs on the left-over roasted purple potatoes from our dinner Saturday night. Unfortunately, the trouble with living with an occasional insomniac is that when he can’t sleep, he gets hungry. So, all the potatoes were gone when I woke up. Never one to be deterred by missing ingredients (hello, that’s why they call me the Improviser) I simply continued figuring out what to mess around with, and ended up making a delicious breakfast hash out of maple bacon pieces, chickpeas, a pickled jalapeno chopped into tiny pieces, and the last of the delicious tomato sauce. Oh, and some cumin. Because I’m me.

It’s always fun to decide at 6pm on a Sunday that you want to make a pie. Especially while watching ATK. I am terrified, ATK, by the way. They are my sworn enemy – they encourage you to use their recipes, and to blog about them, but they assert that their recipes are PERFECT and have been tested OVER 100 TIMES, so there’s no need for improvisations or changes. You don’t have cumin? Too bad. Tell the blog readers you did. Or just don’t mention it at all. But for GOD’S SAKE don’t ever say that you used some garam masala instead. Oooohhhh no. They’ll come after you. Nastygrams and all.
Where was I?

Oh right. Watching ATK I decided I really really wanted to make PIE. Not blueberry, as they were making on ATK, because I didn’t have the vodka they recommended for the crust. So instead, I went to Epicurious, who don’t mind at all if you reprint, link to , credit, or modify their recipes based on what you have, and found a recipe for Blueberry Peach Pie. Now, having only eaten 1 peach in my life (we were more of a nectarine family, growing up. Plus, I’m from Massachusetts….what do I know from fresh local peaches???) I didn’t realize how difficult peaches were. I mean, I had to peel 11 peaches. I had to pit them and cut them up and I didn’t know what I was supposed to be leaving in and cutting out. One thing I DO know about peaches, though, is that they go great with BOURBON.

So, I did what any good Improviser who’s not using an ATK recipe would do, and I substituted Bourbon for the vanilla in the pie filling. I also burned the hell out of my ring finger, which I would recommend you NOT do.

I added a tablespoon of arrowroot powder to the pie filling, because another reader mentioned they added cornstarch to their making of this pie. It definitely helped, but the pie was still runny. I did a modified lattice, cutting out little ruffly-edged shapes from the pie with a cookie cutter and layering them on the top, instead of bothering to weave a lattice because I’m lazy. In all, this pie took forever to make, and while it is delicious (VERY delicious), I’m a little underwhelmed. The bottom crust still got soggy. The peaches and blueberries still combined to make enough goo that some of it exploded over onto my cookie sheet, and STILL the pie ran. I have had great success making pies using other berries, even berry mixes, but blueberries appear to be my downfall. Someone PLEASE HELP!!!

How, in the name of Julia Child and all other deities of the culinary realm do I keep my blueberry pies (not even TOTALLY BLUEBERRY) together??? Do I have to use pectin? Do I have to add jam? What on earth do I do?

your suggestions gratefully accepted. I’ll repay you in pie. :)


29 Comments on “Just so we’re clear”

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